Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Museum

We had a great trip to the museum. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, but I'm going to try to get some pictures from one of the other homeschooling mothers.

When we first walked in we were a little taken aback. We were confused as to where all the 'engineering' activities were. Then we realized they were set up all over the museum (which is temporarily housed in a smaller building while the museum is under renovation). There was a station for building a block tower, a free standing paper tower, a run for ping pong balls, a paper 'helicopter', paper airplanes, catapult, and a couple other stations we didn't get to visit.

We were, also, able to play in the 'pretend' section with a little grocery store, house, blocks, and dress up things. There was a space section with activities to simulate working in space. You could even attempt 'going to the restroom in space'.

The last section we visited was the Cowgirl Exhibit. The kids weren't terribly interested in that except to sit on the fake pony, but it looked pretty neat. I did see a plaque that talked about how the women on ranches did more then keep the home fires burning. When necessary they were out there herding, roping, and branding cattle alongside the cowboys.

In the end, we really had a great time building things and playing with our creations. The boys spent a lot of time rolling the ping pong ball down the tracks we made and flying their helicopters. I'm so glad we got the opportunity to go.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The last two days have been productive and busy. Yesterday was bowling fun for homeschoolers. We went to the park afterward and then to the kids club at my gym. The kids had gotten their work done quickly before we left. Aria worked online, proofreading and reviewing addition facts. She read her Junie B book for 15 mins and learned about our word of the day which was "poultry".

Casey did some lessons with me in our Shiller Math which is turning out really good for us so far. The lesson was reinforcing his knowledge of opposites and left and right. We, also, did some work with the Materials Bank. It is, basically, teaching place value and counting with manipulatives. I read to him from the book "Buddy" again.

Today, Aria finished her book and completed a math worksheet reviewing addition and subtract using our manipulatives. She, also, completed another lesson on place value. This time reviewing the one hundred thousands place. She completed a worksheet reviewing nouns and adjectives and learned our word of the day, "survive".

I began to implement my idea to incorporate more history into our days. I talked very briefly about early hominids and early man coming out of Africa. I showed her a timeline I had drawn and told her that I plan to have them do some kind of project for each time period we are talking about. We will hang drawings or essays under the appropriate portion of the timeline. I plan to have a timeline hang near the ceiling along the top of the kitchen. So, we shall see how they take to this idea.

Casey completed a lesson from reviewing words that we have learned over the last few weeks. We went through Lessons 1-51 to 1-54 in his Shiller Math which teaches rows verses columns. He practiced drawing the number 4.

To cover a little bit of science, Aria watched and episode of Bindi about wild dogs. Casey watched the Magic School Bus which was about dinosaurs. I love to see the genuine interest in these learning shows.

Aria gets to start a Hip Hop Dance class next week. We are both excited for her to have something like that to do.

We've been playing Tennis with our friends, too. Fun!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Busy Times

We've been busy lately. I haven't as much time as I used to have to blog. We've started bowling with local homeschoolers every Tuesday. The kids really enjoy it. We are also spending time on Fridays with other homeschoolers that are becoming good friends. Those times are welcome breaks from our academics and help keep us from too much cabin fever.

Aria's schoolwork, today, included writing an email to Grandpa, filling in a place value chart to the trillions, math worksheets practicing place value, reading to herself for 15 minutes, and watching Bindi the Jungle Girl. She is making good, steady progress in all categories.

Casey's schoolwork, today, included word review worksheets from, writing some of his review words and watching Bindi with us. He, also, became familiar with the concept of odd and even. He decided that our family's number is odd, but he verbalized it as "our family is odd". To which I heartily agreed.

The word of the day today was "urge".

We are scheduled for a field trip to the science museum at the end of the week. They are having engineering activities this week. We will get to build things of our own. It should be a lot of fun and all our friends will be there.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

This Week At The School of Bantau

Watch out or I'll gnaw you to death with my tooth

Monday we talked about Martin Luther King, Jr. I explained a little about segregation and how eloquent a speaker MLK was. I explained that he pushed many changes in laws to relieve the burden of segregation. Aria asked if she would have been made to sit in the back of the buses. I said she would have passed for a white person. She could have lived in white society, but I don't know what she would have had to deal with if her community knew she was 1/4 black.

Tuesday we did some math worksheets practicing more place value with Aria and comparing 3 digit numbers with Casey. Aria is really grasping the place value associations now. I am so glad to see the light coming on for her. I hope someday soon she will see how much fun it can be to figure out math problems. Math is great for those of us concerned with the 'right' answers. In math, there is always a right answer. There is no room for subjective meandering in math.

Casey had a tougher time with three digit comparisons. We're working with greater than and less than. The worksheet site I am using jumped from using one digit numbers to three and this is not very conducive to happy learning. So, I think we will have to practice seeing the patterns in higher numbers before doing any more of those comparison worksheets.

We went to the library. Casey and Connor played on the computers while Aria found tons of books that looked interesting to her. Which made me glad for her. Connor found some books about bowling which he thumbs through periodically. He points at the pictures and tells me he wants to go there. :) Aria found some movies and music for us to enjoy, too.

I lost the rest of my marbles a long time ago

Wednesday I read Junie B. Jones to the children till they squirmed. Then they completed their math worksheets (more place value and comparing numbers). Casey practice the "ap" family of words. Aria read Captain Underpants for 5 minutes by herself, and we learned the Word of the Day, punctuate.

Today, I read Captain Underpants to Casey and Aria read Junie B to herself for about ten minutes. We watched Bindi the Jungle Girl on Discovery Kids. Aria and I enjoyed the show very much. I was surprised to learn that platypuses are venomous. Casey was mildly interested and managed to glance at the show a once or twice. :)

We played a math game called "Race to 100". This practices place value. Aria won to Casey's very observable and whiny dismay. Our word of the day was, Marsh. Casey practice letter formation by tracing a few upper and lower case A's and B's.

I made a cookie for you but I eated it.

I ordered Shiller Math online yesterday. I am very excited. I hope that it works as well as I think it will. Now if I can just find fun and tactile ways to learn everything else.

Baking is very serious work.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Online Day

We played games online today. To cover the skills Ara is working on in English we played Toon University online. She played Parts of Speech while I looked on. Casey played a word family sorting game on

Aria continued to practice place value with another game. Casey played one comparing numbers.

I've set Bindi Irwin's show to record so we can watch it when ever we have the time. I missed it with the kids yesterday when it came on at 4pm instead of 5pm like I thought.

Tomorrow, we're off with the homeschool group to roller skate. Yay!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Aria's Lessons

We completed our math worksheets today. Casey is finding that the worksheets are pretty easy. We can speed through them. Especially, since I don't make him to the inane repetition when he most obviously understands a concept. The things that are more difficult for him are only done a few times so that he doesn't get frustrated or tired.

Aria is thriving on the worksheets. This is something so familiar to her that I think it's a little comforting. I'm a little concerned that the information is getting lost in among the 'right' answers. She understands how to get the answers from the example on the sheet, but not because she understands the information.

She can see, for instance, in the number 312 that there are 3 hundreds, 1 ten, and 2 ones. She knows this not because she understands hundreds, tens, and ones, but because she remembers that the hundreds are first the tens are second and the ones are last. She has not totally grasped that there are 300 + 10 + 2. Or that 10 ones are 1 ten or ten tens are 100. This would not normally be a concern for a child that is seeing this for the first time, but Aria has seen this numerous times. The interacts should be clear, but maybe she is not ready for this yet.

Then the problem becomes how to present the information differently just for the sake of not being bored. Being presented with the same information over and over again, whether you understand it or not, can be very frustrating. But I'm not despairing yet. She did seem to really enjoy using the manipulatives and I am planning on using them more often. Hopefully, at some point, seeing the way you can trade one group for another that light bulb go on. I think the ability to grasp it is there.

She, also, practiced naming parts of speech. She didn't do well on that for some reason. I don't know if she just wasn't concentrating or if she forgot what she learned. I will find some way to practice them again tomorrow to see what's going on.

Aria and I, also, tried our hand at making an educational video. She had fun with it at first but quickly grew tired. I will edit it and show it to her and maybe it will inspire her to do more. I think explaining it 'to other kids' will help her to understand it better and inspire her to learn more. It caters to her vanity too. :)

We plan on watch Bindi The Jungle Girl tonight as well. A decent day. A little frustrating but productive enough.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mondays and Tuesdays

I feel like my days have been really full this week. Yesterday, we played War and computer games to practice our math. We did worksheets today. I'm glad of the help that is giving me by way of child appropriate worksheets provided in an orderly fashion. I think it may help us. I'm really considering purchasing Shiller Math. We have some math manipulatives and Aria really seemed to enjoy using them to figure out her math sheet today. I know Shiller uses manipulatives and music, along with worksheets and such. I can use it with all three children so it is most probably worth the money.

Aria read an article from Mindsprinting and answered questions. She got most right, but I think the articles are just not interesting enough to keep her attention. I need to find something about acting, fashion or music. Then I'll have her undivided attention. I want to be sure she has the tools to remember things she doesn't like to read, though, so we will have to continue to discuss that skill.

The word of the day yesterday was "blare" and today it was "motto". Aria said her motto could be "Keep Trying". I need to make her a sign or framed picture that states her motto. I love that she thought of that on her own. I think that should be my motto as well.

My goal for the rest of the week is to do something creative and/or a science experiment this week.